Before retiring, I spent more than twenty years as an art rep and artist selling my own work and that of many other artists and fine art publishers to interior designers, architects and galleries. The “decorative art” business not only supported my family, but also provided constant inspiration and direction as I decided what to paint and which images done by others I would show my clients.
As I read art blogs, such as this one, and look at the questions and comments posted on various artists’ forums, I’m mystified at how often artists who can’t make a living from their creative output make a distinction between “fine” art and the “decorative” art people love and hang in their homes and offices because it provides enjoyment and enhances their “lifestyle.”
Somehow, the thought that taking on the challenge to paint something that “matches a sofa fabric” and can actually put some dollars in the artist’s empty pocket compromises their artistic integrity – whatever that is.
If you are wondering what to paint, stroll around a few interior design studios, high-end furniture stores or expensive model homes and look at what real people are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars for. Become knowledgeable about how the art business works (assuming you are serious about becoming part of it and not just a confused bystander). Learn who gets how much and why by talking to the people who buy art, not some high-tone “expert” who can’t even give away what they produce. Then put your creative juices to work and come up with something in your own distinctive style or subject matter that will be acceptable to the marketplace or an identifiable and reachable “target” audience.
Yes, you may have to use “trendy” colors or fit a “what’s hot” category rather than the “what’s not” you’ve been painting. Look at it as an artistic challenge or pretend you’ve just been given a “commission.” Isn’t that what a “real” artist is supposed to be able to do?